Nick Jivkov is riding the heater. Just a few weeks ago, Jivkov came in fifth in the WSOP Circuit Main Event in Hammond, IN for over $62,000. Here in Biloxi, Jivkov was looking to add his first WSOPC Ring to his list of accomplishments. With nearly a 2 to 1 chip lead on everyone else at the final table, he was in a perfect position to do just that.

However, when the final table of the $345 No-Limit Hold ‘em event got underway, all eyes were on Mark “Pegasus” Smith. Despite being the short stack, Smith was making a run at a WSOPC record. Currently tied with Men Nguyen for the most Circuit Rings at four, Smith was looking to take the lead outright and secure his place in the WSOPC record book.

A total of 374 players entered the event, creating a prize pool of $106,112. When play at the final table got underway, the chip counts were as follows:

1. Nick Jivkov 1,018,000

2. Mike Phan 550,000

3. George Merchant 435,000

4. Shannon Hancock 400,000

5. Chris Dillon 382,000

6. Trevor Deeter 321,000

7. Jonathan Thomas 295,000

8. Anthony Ruffolo 216,000

9. Mark “Pegasus” Smith 132,000

9th Place – After being crippled early at the final table, Chris Dillon moved all in with Ac-Js for his last 53,000 and was called by Jonathan Thomas holding 3c-3s. The board of Kd-Qh-9d-6h-8c did not improve Dillon’s hand and he was sent out in ninth place for $2,207.

8th Place – Anthony Ruffolo got into a preflop raising war with Thomas soon afterwards and the two ended up getting all in. Ruffolo showed As-Kd but he was trailing Thomas’ Qh-Qs. The board ran out Qd-Jh-9h-9d-6s and Thomas took the pot with a full house. Ruffolo was eliminated in eighth and pocketed $2,763.

7th Place – Mark “Pegasus” Smith had slowly been blinded down at the final table. With his last 84,000, he made his stand with Ks-10d. Unfortunately for Smith, Jonathan Thomas made the call holding Kc-Js. The board of Ac-Jh-10c-6s-4h made each player a pair, but Thomas’ pair of jacks took the pot and knocked Smith out in seventh place for $3,508. Mark Smith’s quest for his fifth WSOPC Ring had fallen just short.

6th Place – After a series of raises preflop, Nick Jivkov moved all in and George Merchant called all-in for less. Merchant’s 8d-8s was ahead of Jivkov’s Ah-Jh until the dealer laid out the board of Ac-Kc-4h-3d-Js. Jivkov made two pair to win the pot and eliminate Merchant in sixth place for $4,517.

5th Place – Shannon Hancock moved all in with Ah-9c and was called by Mike Phan with Ks-Js. The flop came down Qs-Jc-4s, giving Phan a pair of jacks as well as the nut flush draw. The turn brought Hancock his ace. Unfortunately for him, it was the ace of spades, locking up the hand for Phan and putting Hancock out in fifth place for $5,902.

4th Place – Despite the fact that Jonathan Thomas had knocked out three of the five final table players, he ran into a buzz saw in the form of Trevor Deeter. Thomas moved all in with As-3s to try and take down the blinds and antes before the flop. However, Deeter woke up with Ad-Ah. The board of Kc-9d-2c-9s-Kh did not improve Thomas’ hand and he was sent home in fourth place for $7,827.

3rd Place – Shortly after three-handed play began, Nick Jivkov opened the pot and Mike Phan moved all in. Jivkov thought for a moment before making the call with Ad-6h.  Phan flipped up Kh-10c and would need to improve to stay alive. The board of 9s-5s-2c-3h-3c did not do that and Phan was knocked out in third place for $10,541.

2nd Place – Trevor Deeter, a former Division III basketball All-American at Albright College, saw Nick Jivkov make a raise preflop to 200,000 with the blinds at 25,000-50,000. Deeter proceeded to move all in to try and take the pot but Jivkov made the call and showed 8d-8h. Deeter turned up 10d-7h and would need help. He got a piece of the 9s-7s-3c flop but his pair of sevens still trailed Jivkov’s eights. The 5h on the turn did not improve his hand and neither did the 6c on the river. Jivkov’s eights held up and eliminated Deeter in second place for $14,426.

Nick Jivkov had come up just short at the WSOPC Main Event in Hammond, IN, finishing in fifth place. He kept his hot streak going though and added a WSOP Circuit Ring to his ever-growing list of accomplishments. In addition to the ring, Jivkov pocketed $23,344 for first place as well as valuable points towards the WSOPC National Championship event.

See the complete IP Resort Hotel and Casino poker tournament schedule and previous results here. The WSOP Circuit at the IP runs through November 10th. You can find the complete 2010/2011 WSOP Circuit Schedule here.